04 April 2023
Looking at Automodello's fiery new Fiero
Automodello 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT
REF NO: 24P010
Pontiac's Fiero was the USA’s first mid-engined production car, built by the company in pursuit of its attempt to re-establish a sporty image. It was originally envisaged as a 6-cylinder compact sports car, but General Motors’ corporate management feared this would create unnecessary competition for the Chevrolet Corvette. Pontiac’s engineers were able to re-sell the idea to top management, as an economical 2-seater commuter car that happened to look a bit sporty.
A very tight development budget inevitably meant major design compromises and the use of many components from other GM production vehicles. The engine was downsized to a 151 cu.in. (2.5 litre) 4-cylinder with a mediocre power output of 97 bhp, but when coupled with its manual gearbox, gave up to 50 mpg, an impressive figure in the USA at the time.
The Fiero was launched in August 1983, and early sales were much better than expected, though in this form, the car fell well short of the performance expectations of the many enthusiastic would-be buyers, so in 1985 the GT model with a 171 cu.in. (2.8 litre) V6, 4-speed manual gearbox and revised suspension for better handling, was introduced. The new engine gave some 140 bhp and, as the new model was well-received, 1986 saw a restyle for the GT, notably the 'flying-buttress' C-pillars. 1988 brought further engine and suspension upgrades to bring the GT closer to the original sports-car concept, but, by this time, competition from imports led to falling sales overall. The Fiero was discontinued in August 1988, with more than 370,000 having been built over its 5-year run, of which over 63,000 were GTs.
Automodello’s new release is of that final GT version, and is very good indeed, as we have come to expect. The lines are replicated to perfection, the moulding is super-crisp and the finish is flawless. Detail is excellent, down to the badging and small motifs. The side-trim inserts are neat, the rear panel with the lights incorporated, is very good, and door mirrors are included, as is a short, hair-thin radio aerial. The interior, in light grey and black, is complete right down to detailed dials on the fascia. The model comes with a separate, removable roof panel insert which fits neatly in place.
The standard edition of the model, as reviewed, is in bright red, and 188 examples have been made. There are also 'Encomium' editions in black, white and yellow, at $50.00 more, where production is limited to 49 of each, and a 'Tribute' edition in Silver, at $100.00 more, with a build of just 40.
All the models are plinth-mounted, numbered and come in a clamshell outer box.